July 28, 1940
(and of course, Ced) I was naturally delighted to get your letter with its report of definite progress. And right at the beginning I may as well give you the findings on the difference in mail time between regular and airmail. Both the letter and postal were dated July 13th, but both were postmarked Anchorage July 15th, 11 AM. The airmail letter reached me on July 24th, the postal in the afternoon mail of July 27th. If you can figure this one out you are better than I, Gungha Din. The Bridgeport postmaster informs me that the regular first-class mail time from Bridgeport to Seattle is 83 hours, 12 days to Anchorage. The airmail time to Seattle is 24 hours from Bridgeport and presumably is the same in the opposite direction although I have in mind the remark some small town postmaster on this point, that while it was not so long from Christmas to New Year’s it was a very long time from New Year’s to Christmas, and that may be the answer.
By the way, how is it that while you write on Hotel Anchorage stationary you head your letter Hotel Hopkins? I can assume from the evidence that you failed to arrange with the brother and his two sisters that you met on the boat, for the room they had available and are now booked at the Hopkins. Please don’t forget we are hungry for details, little things that may not seem to be important in the way of news that are interesting to those at home who are following your doings day by day with much interest. By the time you get this you will undoubtedly have received all the letters which I wrote while you were en route, all of which were returned to me here and re-forwarded to Alaska, as well as my regular weekly letters which I have mailed each Monday since you have arrived – – the last by airmail. And I think I shall follow your example and spend the necessary six cents for each letter hereafter to go by airmail on the assumption that they will soon get the schedule worked out so that the time in transit will be considerably shortened.
Mr. Plumb, as you may know from Barbara’s letters, has been quite ill at home, and either has or is threatened with a touch of pleurisy or pneumonia. Yesterday morning Helen told me he was not so well Friday and she left home Saturday morning before he was awake so she did not know how he was feeling yesterday. Barbara has been home from work helping her mother. I understand she has heard from you since the letter I got telling of the fact that you have landed a good job with the airfield company. Is it with Woodley, the same place that Ced is working or another outfit? I suppose I’ll hear all about it in due time, so why bother to ask the question, you say. Well, only to emphasize the fact that (1) we are gluttons for punishment when it comes to deciphering Ced’s scrawl and your sometimes cryptic utterances, and (2) why your imagination and knowledge can supply the home background for a lot of things I don’t need to write because you already know them, your environment, details of your hotel room, characteristics of the people you meet and work with, your amusements, kind of work you do, financial matters, and nosiness in general is what you must paint on an entirely blank page.
Page 2 of R-86
And one other word, before I finish with this subject. With two such diverse personalities as you boys possess, it doesn’t do a bit of good to get yourself into thinking that because one fellow has written the other fellow needn’t. I’ll be willing to bet if you both sat down at the same time and wrote about the same subjects the letters would be entirely different and cover entirely different details. It’s just like asking two artists to paint a picture of the same person or the same scene. How identical do you think they would be? And we’re the ones back home here who lose out because each of you take it for granted the other fellow has told all the news. At the risk of making you mad, I’ll refer once again to my pet peeve, I don’t know a single detail yet about the disposal of my dear little Willys, except that she’s sold. Why, where, to whom, how much? Oh, dear, you’ll say, that’s the penalty of having folks at home who care so much, they get nosy and insistent and bothersome and won’t let us live our lives without being checked up on all the time. Damn. Well, so much for that.
Got a letter from Lad this week – – just a word to say that he was still on deck and things were going on about the same with nothing of them any importance to report. Maybe he might get a bit of inspiration from what I have written you two above. It’s the little details that make letters interesting, like Lad’s description of Caracas’s best hotel in which he explained the plumbing, etc., or to use another example, like Rusty’s description of people or incidents where he gets in the little intimate expressions or anecdotes.
There seems to be little to report from the home plate. The weather is insufferably hot due to a combination of high thermometer readings and humidity. Poor Mack pants all around the house and goes from fireplace to under the dining room table until one mean flea or another arouses him to find some other cooler spot.
Politically the town is in a mess again. All three assessors resigned, Hoffman, Hannum and Christy, and the board of selectmen will have to appoint three others to serve until the October election. The payoff, however, that is causing the most excitement is that the Fifth Column group headed by Sexton has been able to find a weak spot in the recently passed police bill, and the judge, on a technicality, has ruled that Trumbull now has no police force, so that Ray is no longer chief and Nat is not a cop. They are both back to their status as constables without pay. Both Brown of Nichols and Mahoney of Long Hill have resigned as Police Commissioners, leaving only Lane (a Sexton man, it is rumored) of the original board. The selectmen have appointed Kann of Nichols and Judge of Long Hill to take their places and they met last night and reappointed Beckwith and Hayward to serve temporarily until matters can be straightened out somehow. Rightly or not, Davis, of course, is being blamed for it.
Business is practically dead. Friday afternoon we did not have a single order in the place and it being insufferably hot, I sent Miss Denis home (George was on vacation) and followed a few hours later myself. Don’t laugh, you fellows that are pulling down the big money, but I don’t know how much longer my $18 a week will continue on this basis. I am thinking seriously of moving to a new location where the rent will be only $25 a month instead of $50.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the third section of this letter, an extract from Ced’s letter to Grandpa, telling him of the details of their early time in Anchorage.
On Saturday, some more Early Memories of Trumbull, as recorded with five of Grandpa’s six children.
On Sunday,another letter from Grandpa, written Aug. 13, sent to St. Paul, in care of Uncle Kenneth Peabody.